The Philly Family Guide to July 4th From Home
Philly goes virtual with a week of free Independence Day celebrations and activities for the whole family!
Look, we’re all doing our best here, but America went and got sick on its own birthday and just made things super awkward for everyone. There aren’t even fireworks this year—unless you count the nightly ones people are setting off around the city.
We have a lot of healing to do, but July 4th seems more significant than ever. To paraphrase Hamilton (premiering July 3 on Disney+, and we cannot wait), America is a “great unfinished symphony.” This year, while we celebrate our history, let’s also celebrate the promises of America—equality, liberty, and justice—and always strive to make a more perfect union, every day.
What if America threw a birthday party and no one came?
Every year, people come from all over to take part in Wawa Welcome America festivities, and it’s obvious why—you get a week’s worth of free activities that celebrate not just our country’s independence, but also highlight so much of what Philly has to offer. This year, the completely free event will feature more than 50 virtual programs over the week beginning Sunday, June 28 through Saturday, July 4. We’ll be breaking it down, plus adding some additional activities to make your week and holiday great!
Daily, beginning at 9 am
Every day of the festival, enjoy virtual tours, access to exhibits, educational discussions, and activities from top museums and attractions in the city.
- Sunday, June 28: American Swedish Historical Museum, Christ Church Burial Ground, Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, One Liberty Observation Deck
- Monday, June 29: Museum of the American Revolution, The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center
- Tuesday, June 30: Association of Public Art, Eastern State Penitentiary, Fireman’s Hall Museum, Free Library of Philadelphia Rare Book Department, The Rosenbach
- Wednesday, July 1: National Constitution Center
- Thursday, July 2: Penn Museum
- Friday, July 3: African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation, National Liberty Museum
- Saturday, July 4: National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia Museum of Art
PECO Go 4th & Learn
Every day, tune in for videos, exclusive experiences, and engaging activities from around Philly!
June 29, 2 pm
One of our favorite things to watch during quarantine has been the Philadelphia Zoo’s daily virtual visits. They’ll present a special edition of their broadcast for Welcome America to kick things off.
June 30, 10 am
Coaches and staff from Penn Athletics will host interactive fitness and sports activities for both kids and adults to get moving.
Read to Lead
July 1, 10 am
Grab the entire family and go on a literacy journey with Sergeant Major Erica Russo of The United States Army Field Band, and Telemundo62 Chief Meteorologist, Violeta Yas.
Food Science with Wawa
July 2, 10 am
Take a virtual tour of the Wawa Dairy in Wawa, PA and get an insider’s peek at the Wawa Test Kitchen, where you can experience a virtual cooking demonstration of your favorite foods with nutrition, sensory, and food safety tips.
July 3, 10 am
Travel back in time with stories of history and adventure with some of Philadelphia’s most historical figures from Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Franklin to Betsy Ross. Eavesdrop on Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams as they debate the Declaration of Independence outside their favorite watering hole, City Tavern. And, over at the Betsy Ross House, the first lady of the Stars and Stripes prepares for Independence Day and shares the history of her flag-making skills!
Independence National Historical Park
July 4, 10 am
Join a special tour with National Park Service experts sharing the stories of the founding of our nation and some of Philadelphia’s most historic landmarks. Get an exclusive look at the “rooms where it happened” with behind-the-scenes visits and stories.
Storytime, Music Time, and More
Music Play Patrol
June 29—July 3, 11 am
Rock out to the sounds of pots and pans, buckets, drinking straws, and more. There will be a different activity every day, all of which can be done with what you have lying around the house!
- Monday, June 29: Bucket Drumming
- Tuesday, June 30: Making Shakers
- Wednesday, July 1: Playing Pots & Pans
- Thursday, July 2: Musical Storytelling
- Friday, July 3: Making Wind Instruments
Daily at noon
Enjoy storytime with special guest readers on Welcome America social media channels every day. Guest readers include City Representative Sheila Hess, NBC10 and Telemundo62 personalities, a Sergeant Major of the United States Army, and more.
Independence Blue Cross #mindPHL Wellness Corner
June 28—July 3, 8:30 am
Start your day off with programming focused on stress reduction, connection, and mental health. This six-part series can be found at the Wellness Corner of the festival’s website daily. Topics include exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, and more.
Every evening, tune in for a different streaming concert, from gospel to pop!
Hymns & Harmony
June 28, 7 pm
Welcome America always includes a Gospel on Independence concert. This year, kick off the festival with an uplifting gospel celebration with Zak Williams and 1/Akord, hosted by WDAS’ Patty Jackson.
The United States Army Band ‘Pershing’s Own’ Concert
June 29, 7 pm
Another tradition from Welcome America, Pershing’s Own will bring a spirited, patriotic 10th Anniversary virtual performance they are calling “United We Stand: Music to Connect Us.” The concert will include popular music, vocal arrangements, and as always “The 1812 Overture” to close things out.
Girls Like nicethings
June 30, 7 pm
A women-centered music and art event showcasing the talent of women and women-identifying creators in Philadelphia, this event will include a multi-genre lineup of hip-hop, R&B, and soul performances alongside interviews with visual artists discussing their creative process and social impact.
The United States Army Field Band
July 1, 7 pm (pre-show at 6 pm)
“The Musical Ambassadors of the Army” present an inspiring show of patriotic favorites and spectacular performances. At 6 pm there will be a pre-show Facebook Live party celebrating the 80th birthday of Philadelphia’s own Jerry Blavat.
July 2, 7 pm
The Philadelphia Orchestra will perform “Let Freedom Ring,” a musical celebration featuring patriotic pieces, including a special rendition of Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” Sousa’s “The Liberty Bell March,” and a special video tribute to Philadelphia.
POPS on Independence
July 3, 7 pm
For this uniquely American celebration, the POPS takes a musical look at tradition and patriotism in brand new show. This virtual concert stream will also include a newly commissioned piece, “Fanfare for the Essential Workers,” dedicated to healthcare workers who were first responders to the COVID-19 crisis.
Wawa Welcome America July 4th Pre-Show
July 4, noon—7 pm
Celebrate all day with entertainment on NBC 10. At noon, “Red, White & Q102” will kick things off with a mix show featuring local DJs. Then at 3 pm visit the Groove Stage featuring regional multicultural and multigenerational artists. Finally, at 5 pm the Chill Moody Stage lineup features Lester London, LiMM, DioMara, Great Time, and a special performance from Chill Moody & Hank McCoy and many more.
July 4, 4 pm
Celebrate America’s birthday with a Tribute to the Patriotic and American Songbook in Concert with a backdrop of the National Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society, plus a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. Join free on Facebook Live.
Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert
July 4, 8 pm
Broadcast live on NBC10 from the historic The Met Philadelphia, this concert features Jason Derulo, as well as Cynthia Erivo alongside the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia.
As we mentioned above, Disney+ will be premiering a filmed version of the original Broadway production of Hamilton on July 3!
We seriously can’t wait! To get ready for the world premiere, the Museum of the American Revolution will be holding a conversation with Yale University historian and Hamilton expert Dr. Joanne Freeman, and Chicago-based actor and playwright Paul Oakley Stovall, who portrays George Washington in the national tour of Hamilton, with Museum President and CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson. The conversation will be on the museum’s Facebook page on July 1 at 10 am.
Then on Friday, July 3, the Museum of the American Revolution will be holding a Virtual Hamilton Watch Party! Follow along on Twitter as the museum’s curators and historians share historical commentary on the film. The museum will also be sharing Hamilton-related activities on its website and social channels, including a dress-up Eliza Hamilton paper doll activity, Hamilton-inspired coloring pages, and a virtual “walking tour” that explores the city of Philadelphia when Hamilton called it home.
July 4, 10 am and July 5, noon
In this virtual dance class for ages 8-13, students will learn the dance for “The Room Where it Happens.” Pre-registration required online.
July 4, 2:30 pm
Compete in a trivia battle to celebrate and watch the Disney+ Hamilton movie together. For ages 9-14. Pre-registration required online to hold your spot.